I’ve always preferred Beetles from the mid-1960s and earlier over later models, so it’s always been a bit more difficult for me to identify the specific model year of a Beetle from the 1970s. After researching it I can confidently identify this Beetle, which I found on a residential street in Salt Lake City, as a 1974 model. It came down to three features. First, the large “elephant foot” taillights make it easy to pin this one as a 1973 or later. I learned that the front turn signals were moved from the top of the fenders down into the front bumper for 1975, so that narrowed it down to ’73 or ’74. There at first didn’t appear to be any significant exterior changes between those two years, but I finally discovered that ’73s didn’t have the plastic end caps on the bumpers that this example has, so I was able to settle on 1974 as this Bug’s year.
Another junkyard Volkswagen. This one looks like it’s led a bit of a rough life, going through multiple color changes and finally ending up being parted out. Besides the missing parts, which have likely been removed since arriving at the wrecking yard, it looks like it would have been restorable. Even though it’s a bit sad that it’s been permanently taken off the road, Beetles that show up in wrecking yards here usually get picked over pretty well before being sent to the crusher, so at least this Beetle’s parts will go on to keep other Beetles alive.
The car is gone now, but while it was still in the yard I saved the picture Row52 had of it in a slightly more complete state.
I came across this poor T3 in a self-service wrecking yard in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago. Row52.com, the service the yard uses for its inventory, has it listed as a 1982 model. Even without having the model year confirmed, we can tell from a quick glance that this Vanagon left the factory in Germany with an air-cooled engine—the T3 switched to a water-cooled engine part way through 1983, and those vans had another grille below the headlights for the radiator. Although the Beetle and T2 bus continued to be produced with air-cooled engines in Central and South America into the 2000s, the T3 was the last new Volkswagen design to feature an air-cooled engine, and also the last new rear engined model, making it a significant vehicle in automotive history.
This Vanagon appears to be one of the most desirable variants- a Westfalia camper conversion with “Syncro” four wheel drive.
Another find in southern Utah. This second generation (T2) VW Bus is easily identified as an early production model (1968-1971) by the front turn signals being mounted below the headlights. In 1971 the Type 2 received front disc brakes, along with new wheels that had brake ventilation holes, as seen on this example. Assuming the wheels are original and haven’t been retrofitted to an earlier model, we can narrow down the year to 1971.
This VW Bus appears to be highly original, if somewhat faded and rusty. The high-mounted turn signals and squarish bumper indicate that it can’t have been built any earlier than 1973. I love the very ’70s lime green paint, and of course the Westfalia camper conversion scores it some points, too.
This 3rd-generation (T3) Volkswagen Type 2 was shot in downtown Salt Lake City by Taylor. I saw it again while I was driving a few days later, and noticed it has round headlights. I believe that identifies this example as a 1980-85 model.
This Beetle can be identified as a 1974 from the shock-absorbing bumper mounts (introduced in 1974) and the dual tailpipes (the 1975 model had a single tailpipe). All Beetles with curved windshields are Super Beetles, and all convertibles were Super Beetles starting 1974. The bumpers on this example don’t appear to be original.
The only clue I could spot to point to this chopped up Volkswagen Beetle’s model year is the 4-lug wheels, which were used from 1968 to the end of the Beetle’s US sales in 1979. There’s another Beetle hiding behind the Chevy Astro Van, which I didn’t even notice until writing this post…
Spotted in the parking lot of Park City Mountain Resort at the end of the last Saturday of the ski season. RIP, winter. ❄️⛷